Mike Nolan makes sense for Denver job

Might the Miami Dolphins be looking for their third defensive coordinator in three seasons?

Something to keep an eye on is Mike Nolan's possible candidacy to be the next Denver Broncos head coach.

Nolan left the Broncos after last season because he didn't get along with head coach Josh McDaniels. Nolan looks even better these days -- and probably is even more admired by Broncos' upper management -- for parting with McDaniels, who committed a series of gaffes and got fired less than two years into the gig.

AFC West blogger Bill Williamson sketched out a case for Nolan to return to Denver.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has valued the coaches who worked under Dan Reeves in Denver, which Nolan did as a linebackers coach. Denver's next two coaches after Reeves were Reeves coordinators Wade Phillips and Mike Shanahan. McDaniels was Denver's first head coach without ties to Reeves.

Williamson wrote:

While [Nolan] and Josh McDaniels parted ways after one season because they decided they couldn’t work well together, Nolan got along with other key factions of the team. Most importantly, the Broncos' defense was successful under Nolan. It has crashed badly ever since Nolan left to become Miami's defensive coordinator.

Nolan likely would command immediate respect in the Broncos' locker room because the players know him and played well under him. Nolan also has been a head coach, running the San Francisco 49ers for three years. He went 18-37 there, but head coaches often make a greater impact in their second chance.

The Dolphins' defense has performed well under Nolan -- although their 6-6 record doesn't reflect it. The Dolphins have a top-10 defense in many important categories: fourth in total defense, ninth in run defense, fifth in pass defense, ninth in sacks per pass play, fourth in first downs and 10th in third-down efficiency.

The Dolphins, who fired Paul Pasqualoni last year and hired Nolan, would have a tough time finding an adequate replacement.